Do you own a monster-puppy? I did. As of today, Gidget the Belgian Malinois puppy is exactly six months-old and I am happy to report that she has successfully made the transformation from monster-puppy to a well mannered adolescent dog. Below are some of the behaviors she has learned, using the same techniques I outline in my book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!”
– She has learned to sit quietly and accept praise without biting, barking, nipping or jumping.
– She has learned to walk calmly on leash without pulling, alongside Juan Valdez our Golden Retriever, during our morning walk.
– She sits patiently at the back door without barking or whining after doing her “business.”
– Once inside the house, she looks for direction to either go lie down on her pillow next to my desk or to go into her kennel-crate in the living room. Unless Carla wants her in the kitchen. Later, when she is between twelve and eighteen months-old, we’ll begin to allow her unsupervised run of the house.
– She has learned to accept a correction without getting defensive and understands that, “No!” is simply our way of communicating that a certain behavior is not desired.
– When we’re getting ready for our morning walk, she has learned to lie down on command and stay, while I put my shoes on.
– In the morning, when I let her out of her kennel-crate, she will jump on top of the crate while I put her training collar on her.
– She will accompany me into the garage where we keep her kibble and watch calmly as I fill the bowl, and then walk with me back through the house and into the backyard. She will hold a sit-stay while I put the bowl on the ground and wait for her “release command” before attacking her meal with great enthusiasm and gusto.
– She now understands the commands: “Bring your bone,” and “Bring your toy.” She will hunt for each toy in the yard with me and then bring the toy that I choose back to her kennel run. I’ll tell her, “Drop it,” and she does. Then I’ll bring her back out of the kennel and instruct her to go find the next one.
– She has settled into our daily routine nicely and has learned what we expect of her around the house.
– She will come on command, even in an off leash setting. We took her on a road trip and to my parent’s house last week. I was very impressed with how well she did.
– She understands the five basic commands: Sit, Down, Heel, Come and Stay… and does them around distractions.
However, there are still some issues we’re still working on:
– She is still on a special diet (Science Diet W/D dry kibble) … as anything else gives her diarrhea. Unfortunately, a twenty-seven pound bag of this “prescription” kibble costs $60. Still, a small price to pay for firm stools. Probiotics, pumpkin, etc… didn’t help.
– She is still a high drive, high energy dog. Probably always will be, although I am seeing her calm down a bit from month to month. She has yet to master “The Art of the Afternoon Nap.”
– She has weak nerves and can be, “spooky” around certain new situations. This is getting better as we continue to socialize her, but it is an issue that will likely persist for the next six-to-nine months as we continue to work with her on this. With dogs like this, the more obedience training you do, the more the dog gains confidence.
All in all, I’ve been very impressed. Early on, I had my doubts about this one. She is an extreme dog from an extreme breed. That’s why I got her, because I’m always testing the latest, greatest techniques I can find. In the wrong hands, this puppy could have been a monster. Lord knows she was a monster puppy. This breed is not for amateurs. And this individual dog’s bloodlines are from some very tough, very difficult dogs. Fortunately, almost all of her sibblings have gone to professional dog trainers and are doing well, too. If you’re using the right techniques, you can achieve virtual miracles with even the toughest, most stubborn dogs.
Speaking of monster dogs: I’ve just released another fiction novel (a novella, actually) that is now available at Amazon.com for those of you who have a Kindle or a Kindle app for your e-reader:
Pit Bulls Vs. Zombies– Prologue To A Zombie Apocalypse
Only $0.99 cents.